In broiler chickens, the relationship between dietary supplementation of vitamin C and hepatic, cardiac and renal heat shock proteins (HSP60, HSP70 and HSP90), heat shock factors (HSF-1 and HSF-3) and enzymatic antioxidants requires further investigation. The current study aimed to investigate this relationship at cellular and molecular levels in a 42 days experiment. Two hundred, one-day-old broiler chicks (Ross 308) were allocated into four equal groups. Chicks in the first and third groups were thermo-neutral (TN; 22°C for 24 hours/day) and fed basal diet without or with vitamin C (1g/kg basal diet), respectively. Chicks in the second and fourth groups were heat stressed (HS; 34°C for 8 hours/day) and fed basal diet without or with vitamin C, respectively. Performance parameters were recorded throughout the experiment. Levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), Catalase (CAT) and gene expression of heat shock proteins (HSP60, 70 and 90) and heat shock factors (HSF 1 and 3) were analyzed in liver, heart and kidney tissues of the studied groups. Heat stress induced a negative impact on performance parameters, significant reduction in activities of all examined antioxidant enzymes and a significant up-regulation in heat shock proteins and factors genes in all studied tissues. Dietary supplementation of vitamin C corrected these parameters towards the normal control values. Conclusively, dietary supplementation of the examined dose of vitamin C was efficient at ameliorating the detrimental effects of heat stress on liver, heart and kidney tissues of broilers chickens at cellular and molecular levels.
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